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How Often Should you Wash Your Workout Clothes?

It's gym day and you have no clean clothes. You reach into your hamper and pull out an outfit you wore earlier in the week. It passes the sniff test, so it's okay to wear right? It depends, but as a general rule sweaty clothing shouldn't be worn more than once because it could pose a health risk.

Rewearing old sweaty clothes isn't the best idea, unless you're cool with breakouts, yeast infections and bad odor. The sweat that our body produces is surprisingly odorless. The sebum (an oily, waxy substance produced by your body's sebaceous glands) mixed with bacteria is what causes sweat to smell.


The more bacteria mixed with your sweat, the more likely you are going to smell. When you workout, the stinky sweat seeps into your clothing and gets trapped there, especially on fabrics like spandex and polyester, which collect the most odor-causing bacteria.


Even more interesting is that if you don't wash your sweaty clothing immediately after use, the bacteria will continue to multiply. So, no it's not just you, your clothing does get stinkier the next time you check it to see if it smells.


Unwashed and reworn clothing can lead to chaffing and skin irritation. Let's also not forget about breakouts. Re-wearing the same workout clothing is a breeding ground for acne. To top all this, gyms are just plain germy, which makes it easier for bacteria to get transferred from one person to another.


Next time you hit the gym and work up a sweat, once home, leave your workout clothes out to dry and then toss them in a hamper. Launder workout clothing as soon as possible. It's best to wash your workout gear in cold water if you want them to last. Hot water breaks down fabrics and can lead to shrinkage. Lastly, air dry clothing or select the low-heat setting on your dryer.

Tanks & T-shirts

After a low-impact workout, a second wear can be acceptable. Once you get home, hang your shirt where it can air dry. If your shirt is soaked in sweat, then the "wear only once" rule applies, so toss it in the hamper (after it's dry).

Leggings, Yoga Pants & Track Pants

Again, a second wear can be acceptable if you don't sweat and wear loose-fitting shorts or pants. Any pants/leggings that are tight-fitting in the groin area should definitely only be worn once.

Sports Bras

Due to the close fit of sports bras, it's recommended to wash after each sweat session. If you're wearing a sports bra under your regular clothes, then it's okay to spritz with fabric refresher and set aside for an upcoming workout.


You should know the answer to this one! Always wash after each wear/workout.

Running Shoes

Keep the outside of your shoes clean by wiping them down. The inside of your shoes should stay fresh as long as you always wear clean socks. If your shoes get stinky, it's probably time for a new pair of insoles or a new pair altogether.

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